The bodies of two businessmen killed in an encounter Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar were exhumed this evening in the backdrop of huge protests, hours after a magisterial inquiry was ordered into the issue. Sources said they will be handed over to the families later. Mohammad Altaf Bhat and dental surgeon Mudasir Gul were among the four people who died during an anti-terror operation at a commercial complex in Srinagar’s Hyderpora on Monday.
The families claimed that the men were killed in cold blood by security forces and the police refused to hand over their bodies.
Protests seared the state soon after, with political leaders slamming the administration. “Look what Kashmir has been reduced to. The onus is on people to establish their innocence… justice doesn’t work like this,” former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said.
The police had first said the two men were shot by terrorists, but later said they may have been killed in the crossfire. Altaf Bhat, who owned the complex, would be counted as a “harbourer of terrorists”, the police said, as he did not inform the authorities about his tenants, one of whom was a terrorist.
The police said the two other men killed were a Pakistani terrorist and his associate.
Earlier today, as political parties rallied behind the families, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha ordered a magisterial probe into the killings. Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Muhammad Aijaz Asad appointed additional district magistrate Khurshid Ahmad Shah as the inquiry officer.
“We will look into the demands of the families. We are open to correction if anything has gone wrong. A police probe will also find out what went wrong,” Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told NDTV.
“We will find out what happened in the Hyderpora encounter. We are for the safety of people and will not shy away from a probe,” he added.